New Delhi: No fund has been earmarked for the municipal corporations of Delhi in the Union Budget, although the city government had requested for allocation of “Rs. 1000 crore as local bodies grant”, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Thursday.
The AAP government’s statement, drew varied reaction from two of the three mayors of the BJP-led corporations, with East Delhi Mayor Neema Bhagat accusing it of “playing politics”.
“The central government is providing basic and performance grants to local bodies in all states as per recommendations made by the 14th Central Finance Commission for its award period of 2015-20,” Mr Sisodia said.
“However, local bodies in Delhi are not getting any support from the government of India, although we are providing 10.5 per cent of our annual tax collection to the local bodies,” he alleged.
In his last budget before general elections, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday unveiled a slew of measures for agriculture as well as the rural sector and announced a new health insurance scheme for the poor, but provided little relief to the middle class.
Mr Sisodia, who also holds the portfolio of finance, was quoted as saying in a statement, “In the Budget 2018-19, the government of India has not earmarked any funds to local bodies of Delhi, although we had requested for allocation of Rs. 1000 crore as local bodies grant.”
North Delhi Mayor Preety Agarwal, when contacted, sought to take a defensive stand, saying, “Whatever decision the central government has taken, it must have taken after carefully thinking over it.”
But, the east Delhi mayor, went all offensive on Delhi government, alleging, “The city government crying no fund for the civic bodies, is nothing but them playing politics over it.”
“If they care so much about the MCD, they should implement the recommendations of the Fifth Delhi Finance Commission, which is lying with them,” Mr Bhagat said.
“We (EDMC) have been asking funds from the Centre at our own level and it has granted us, whenever needed, for sanitation and other puposes,” she said.
The erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated into North, South and East Delhi Municipal Corporations — NDMC, SDMC and EDMC — in 2012. It has been ruled by the BJP since 2007.
Barring the SDMC, both the NDMC and EDMC are severely cash-strapped.